Track: Place the Relay Baton at an Angle

Track: Place the Relay Baton at an Angle

Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com

A Baton Passed Over the Fingers is Difficult to Grasp
A Baton Passed Over the Fingers is Difficult to Grasp

When performing the downsweep relay passing technique, outgoing runners extend the receiving arm backward and parallel with the ground. This usually places the hand with the fingers pointing directly backward

Incoming runners often make the mistake of placing the baton straight forward over the fingers of the receiver. 

Baton is Angled So it Makes Contact Between the Thumb and Index Finger
Baton is Angled So it Makes Contact Between the Thumb and Index Finger
A baton placed like this is difficult to grasp because the hand cannot close naturally around it.

This is a common cause of missed exchanges in which the baton appears to have been placed properly but is never grasped by the outgoing runner.

How to Correct
You can avoid this problem by instructing your relay runners to angle the baton slightly inward (i.e. towards the inside of the passer's forearm) as they pass the baton.

This will place the baton so it contacts the receiver's palm between the thumb and index finger—allowing a quick flexing of the fingers for a safe grip.

References:
1. ASEP, Coaching Youth Track and Field, Human Kinetics, 2008.
2. John Smith (UCLA Sprint Coach & World/Olympic Record holder), Sprints, Starts & Relays Video, Championship Books and Video Productions.


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